U.S. judge opens Justice Department's T-Mobile/Sprint deal approval to comments

FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile store is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge who is set to assess the Justice Department’s approval of T-Mobile US’s plan to buy rival Sprint Corp said on Friday he would allow comments filed to the court about the $26 billion telecoms deal.

Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington said he would consider friend of the court briefs on the controversial deal to merge the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless companies. He said in a brief order that they would be limited to 20 pages and should refrain from repeating arguments made to the Justice Department since the judge has access to those.

“I want to give them a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” Kelly said in a hearing on Friday.

Separately, the judge approved Theodore Ullyot, a former Facebook general counsel, as the monitoring trustee to oversee the merger and divestiture process if and when it is allowed to go forward, according to a court filing.

While the federal government has signed off on the deal, a group of state attorneys general, led by New York and California, asked a federal court in New York to stop it.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot